Dub Thompson - 9 Songs - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dub Thompson - 9 Songs

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2014-06-09

9 Songs, wherein the creative juices of the young blokes in Dub Thompson pour forth in a mess of ideas, beautiful, and occasionally monstrous noise. 9 songs is quite stunning in places, a first rate blend of abrasive punk, dub, groove and straight-ahead rock. 

Beginning with murky and primal rock drumming (not dissimilar to Hunters and Collectors), sludgy underwater guitar warblings and menacing chords, 'Hayward!' is an impressive start to the album. The track pauses momentarily at the one minute mark, before launching into the sort of dubbed-out punk masterpiece you wished The Clash had been more capable of back in the day. 

The second track, 'No Time', is straight dub, the band momentarily slipping into something comfortable for the one and only track with a semblance of predictability. It reminded me of the urban dance swagger of those uber-cool chicks from the 80s, ESG. 'Mono' is a great underground stomp-rocker. 'Ash Wednesday', with its stray cat strut and updated blues-rock sound, is another winner.

For me, the centerpiece track is 'Epicondyles'. It has a weight of expectation about it, with its languorous bassline and upbeat acoustic chords, and resolves in joyful noise at its chorus. The heavily abused drum-kit at the peak serves to remind that these young guys are impatient with convention.

'Dograces' segues from Rage Against the Machine dub-punk to cathedral wedding chimes, in a manner too disparate to dispel incredulity. Overall, on 9 Songs the band manages discordant shifts pretty well, but on 'Dograces' the track loses impetus with an oddly positioned toy box mini-symphony of bad nightclub muzak muted to elevator music banality. No faulting the inventiveness but this, the most ambitious track, ends up being the album's weakest link. It has brave ideas but just doesn't cohere.

9 Songs presents an intriguing and sometimes exciting musical palette. It may be fraught but it's also occasionally exhilarating. 

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